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Pain in any part of the leg is a common symptom of trauma or disease.
There are many causes of leg pain.
Traumatic causes include sports injuries. Other causes can relate to the blood vessels, nerves, muscles, joints, soft tissues, or bones.
The course of treatment depends on the cause of the leg pain.
Leg pain can often be treated at home, but if pain is sudden, severe, or persistent, or if there are other symptoms, medical attention may be necessary.
This article will look at some common causes of leg pain and some home treatments.
Fast facts about leg pain
Here are some key points about leg pain. More information is in the main article.
- The causes of leg pain can be musculoskeletal, neurological, or vascular.
- Shin splints and stress fractures can result from repetitive sports, such as running.
- Leg pain can sometimes indicate a serious vascular problems. These can occasionally be fatal, and they require medical intervention.
- Many types of pain can be treated at home, but severe or persistent pain can indicate a more serious condition.
Pain occurs when nerves respond to stimuli such as high levels of pressure, high or low temperatures, and chemicals, which can be released by tissue damage.
Leg pain can be sharp, dull, numbing, tingling, burning, radiating, or aching.
It can also be acute, meaning sudden and short term, or it can also be chronic and persistent. Severity can be rated on a scale from 1 to 10, or from mild to severe.
Injury sustained during a sports game or in an accident is normally acute and traumatic. The person can often identify the cause.
Other causes, such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), tend to build up over time, although the person may be able to pinpoint the onset of pain.
Some sports injuries build up over time, such as repetitive strain injuries and stress fractures. Traumatic injuries can also become long-term, or chronic, problems if the individual does not rest or seek treatment.
It is important to be aware of what was happening before and around the time that leg pain emerged, as this can help decide when to seek medical treatment.
Leg pain can mostly be classified as neurological, musculoskeletal, or vascular, or these can overlap.
Musculoskeletal pain: Examples are crepitus, recognized by a popping or cracking sound in the knee, or arthritis, an autoimmune disease that affects the joints in the hip, knee, or ankle. If a muscle, tendon, or ligament is strained, for example, during a fall, any pain will be musculoskeletal.
Night cramps, compartment syndrome, and stress fractures are also musculoskeletal problems.
Vascular pain: Causes include PAD, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), cellulitis, infections, varicose veins, and varicose eczema, where pain is accompanied by discoloration of the skin.
Neurological pain: Conditions include restless legs syndrome, in which the legs twitch uncontrollably, neuropathy, or nerve damage, and sciatic nerve pain. Neurological pain can be present even when resting.
Here we will look at some of these in more detail.
Different causes of leg pain can have similar symptoms. Getting a correct diagnosis increases the chances of receiving appropriate treatment, if necessary. Identifying the symptoms and their onset can help find an appropriate diagnosis.
Leg cramps, or Charley horses
Charley horses are transient episodes of pain that can last for several minutes. The muscle, usually the calf at the back of the lower leg, tightens and goes into spasm.
Cramps are more common at night and in older people. An estimated 1 in 3 people aged over 60 years experience night cramps, and 40 percent experience over 3 attacks per week.
PAD can cause pain in the leg due to poor circulation. Without treatment, it can be fatal. The key symptom is intermittent claudication.
Intermittent claudication causes the blood supply to the leg muscles to become restricted. The resulting lack of oxygen and nutrients causes pain.
- a cramp-like muscle pain during exercise or exertion
- pain in the buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet
- pain when walking or climbing stairs
The cramps consistently occur after the same walking distances, and they often ease on resting.
Share on PinterestDVT causes one type of leg pain and can become a blood clot on the lung if not quickly treated.
DVT refers to a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg. It can emerge after spending a long time sitting down, for example, on a long-distance flight.
Symptoms include swelling and a hot, painful sensation on one side of the leg. This may only occur when walking or standing up.
The clot may dissolve on its own, but if the person experiences dizziness and sudden shortness of breath, or if they cough up blood, emergency attention is needed.
These could be signs that DVT has developed into a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot in the lung.
Vascular problems can be serious. Both PAD and DVT can present without symptoms. People whose lifestyle or medical history leaves them prone to vascular problems in the leg should be aware of possible symptoms.
Engaging in intense exertion during sports can lead to different types of injury.
Jogging and running can create repetitive impact forces that overload muscles and tendons. Shin splints produce severe, localized tenderness in the muscles, and sometimes bone pain commonly felt around the shin bone.
The shin pain cannot be explained by an obvious cause such as a fracture.
Fractures and stress fractures
Heavy pressure, for example, from a fall, can lead to fractures. Some fractures are easily and immediately visible, with severe bruising, swelling, and deformation. These normally receive urgent medical attention.
Stress fractures are small fractures that can result from repetitive stresses sustained during sports, often when the intensity of activity increases too quickly.
There is no single injury, and the fractures are small. The pain may start at an earlier stage during each exercise session, and eventually become present all the time.
This produces knee pain during downhill running. It is caused by inflammation of the popliteus tendon, which is important for knee stability.
Acute trauma can lead to sprains and strains. A sprain refers to a stretching or tearing. A strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons.
Often associated with running, a hamstring strain can lead to acute pain in the rear of the thigh muscle, usually due to a partial tear.
Sprains and strains usually develop because of inadequate flexibility training, overstretching, or not warming up before an activity. Continuing to exercise while injured increases the risk.
When an injury to the leg results in swelling, dangerous levels of pressure in the muscles can lead to acute or chronic compartment syndrome.
This could be due to a fracture or severe bruising.
The swelling causes pressure to build up until the blood supply to muscle tissue is cut off, depleting the muscles of oxygen and nourishment. The pain may be unexpectedly severe, considering the injury.
In severe cases, early pain may be followed by numbness and paralysis. Permanent muscle damage can result.
Sciatic nerve pain
Sciatica happens when pressure is put on a nerve, often in the spine, leading to pains that run down the leg from the hip to the foot.
It can happen when a nerve is “pinched” in a muscle spasm or by a herniated disk nyc.
Long-term effects include strain on other parts of the body as the gait changes to compensate for the pain.
Ovarian cancer can lead to pain and swelling in the legs.
Many cases of leg pain can be resolved at home, without medical intervention.
Self-help for muscle cramps
Share on PinterestCramps, or Charley horses, can be alleviated by stretching and massaging the leg.
If serious causes of cramps have been ruled out, self-help measures can be appropriate.
Painkillers will not improve leg cramps, because they start suddenly, but stretching and massaging the muscle may help.
To relieve the pain when cramps occur:
- Hold the toe and pull it up towards the body, while straightening the leg.
- Walk around on heels until the cramp eases off.
To prevent cramps:
- Always stretch and warm up before and after exercising.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water a day.
- Regularly stretch and massage the legs.
Sports injury treatment
Minor sports injuries, such as leg sprains and strains can be treated with RICE:
- Rest: to prevent further injury and allows healing time to reduce swelling.
- Ice: to reduces swelling, inflammation, and pain. Applied for up 20 minutes wrapped in a cloth, not directly on the skin.
- Compression: use an elastic bandage, firmly but not tightly wrapped, to reduce swelling and pain.
- Elevation: lift the leg above the level of the heart so that gravity assists with draining, to reduce swelling and pain.
Drugs such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help with some pain, but if pain persists for more than 72 hours, specialist medical advice should be sought.
A return to activity should be graduated in its intensity, to build up flexibility, strength, and endurance safely.
There is an excellent selection online with thousands of customer reviews if you want to buy ice packs or elastic bandages.
Medical attention is needed for claudication and other symptoms of vascular disease, because of the risk of heart attack or stroke.
To reduce cardiovascular risk factors, people are advised to:
- avoid or quit smoking
- do moderate exercise, as recommended by a doctor
- manage levels of blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and lipids
- control blood pressure
- adhere to antiplatelet therapy to reduce blood clots, if appropriate
- Exercise and a healthful diet are beneficial. Those who have a treatment plan for a cardiovascular or other condition should follow it carefully.
Leg pain has many different causes, and the symptoms often overlap. If they persist, worsen, or make life difficult, the individual should see a doctor.
A differential diagnosis strategy can help rule out inappropriate causes, narrow down the possibilities, and provide timely intervention.
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 6, 2020.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica describes persistent pain felt along the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from the lower back, down through the buttock and into the lower leg. It is the longest nerve in the body. Pain results when this nerve is compressed or injured. It most commonly results from inflammation, bony enlargement due to arthritis or a displaced (herniated) disk in the lower spine.
Sciatica causes pain that begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttock, leg, calf and, occasionally, the foot. The pain generally will feel dull, aching or burning. Sometimes, it starts gradually, worsens during the night, and is aggravated by motion. Sciatica also can cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg.
Your doctor will review your symptoms and your medical history. He or she will want to know if you have low back pain nyc that spreads to the leg and if you have muscle weakness in your leg or foot. Your doctor will also ask questions that might suggest a serious condition, such as a bone fracture or infection. He or she will want to know if you’ve had:
- any injury
- problems controlling your bowels or bladder,
- a history of cancer
- recent weight loss.
Your doctor will examine you, paying special attention to your spine and legs. To look for problems in your spinal column and related nerves, your doctor may ask you to perform a series of tests that will check your muscle strength, reflexes and flexibility.
Your doctor may send you for X-rays, a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. These tests check for problems in the spinal vertebrae (backbones) or discs that may be irritating or compressing your sciatic nerve. These tests are most helpful to rule out other causes of symptoms or if surgical options might be considered.The diagnosis is based primarily on your symptoms. The physical examination is important to look for abnormalities in the neurologic examination such as weakness, abnormal reflexes or loss of sensation in the leg. The exam might indicate another explanation for the symptoms. However, a normal physical examination is common in people with sciatica. While testing may be important in some cases, the diagnosis can be made even when all test results are normal.
Sciatica usually goes away on its own after a period of rest and limited activities. Most people with sciatica nycfeel better within 6 weeks. Pain that lasts longer than 6 to 12 weeks should prompt a follow up visit to your doctor. If symptoms are severe or prolonged, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating back pain nyc.
Once the pain of sciatica nycpasses, there are exercises, stretches and other measures that may prevent it from returning. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist to develop a personalized program. Here are some steps you can take in the meantime:
- Practice good posture. Stand up straight with your ears aligned with your shoulders. Align your shoulders with your hips and your buttocks tucked in. Your knees should be bent slightly.
- Do abdominal crunches. These exercises strengthen the abdominal muscles that help to support your lower back. Lie with your back on the floor, hands behind your head and knees bent. Press your lower back to the floor. Lift your shoulders up about 10 inches off the floor and then lower them. Don’t go that high if it causes more pain. Repeat 10 to 20 times, once a day.
- Walk/swim. Walking and swimming can help to strengthen your lower back.
- Lift objects safely. Always lift from a squatting position, using your hips and legs to do the heavy work. Never bend over and lift with a straight back.
- Avoid sitting or standing for extended periods. If you sit at work, take regular breaks to stand and walk around. If you must be on your feet, prop one foot on a small block or footrest. Switch feet throughout the day.
- Use proper sleeping posture. Take pressure off your back by sleeping on your side or on your back. Put a pillow under your knees.
- Stretch. Sit in a chair and bend down toward the floor. Stop when you feel just slight discomfort, hold for 30 seconds, then release. Repeat 6 to 8 times.
- Avoid wearing high heels. Shoes with heels that are more than 1 1/2 inches high shift your weight forward, throwing the body out of alignment.
Sciatica usually can be treated successfully by a brief period of resting and limiting activity. Avoid prolonged bedrest that can actually make sciatica nycworse. Start gentle exercises to improve mobility and strengthen the back as soon as you can. If you are not making any progress, notify your doctor. Physical therapy can be helpful.
To ease inflammation around the nerve, your doctor may recommend that you alternate using hot and cold compresses.
You also may need to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain, or anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil and others) or aspirin for pain and inflammation. Medications used to treat nerve pain may be helpful. They include amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep) or gabapentin (Neurontin).
In severe cases, an injection of a long-acting anesthetic with a corticosteroid medication may provide relief. However, recent studies suggest that corticosteroid injections for back pain nyc and sciatica nycdo not relieve short or long term pain any better than injections that do not contain any steroid. These injections typically are done in centers specializing in pain management.
Other non-medication options, including chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, massage and yoga can be helpful, though how well they compare to more conventional treatment is uncertain.
Surgery may be necessary if pain cannot be relieved with other therapies or leg weakness persists, especially if it is getting worse. Surgery is most effective when there is a clear disc herniation that is compressing the root of the involved sciatic nerve.
When To Call a Professional
Contact your doctor if sciatica nycpain grows worse over a few days, or if it begins to interfere significantly with your daily activities. Call your doctor immediately if you experience sudden, extreme weakness in a leg, numbness in the groin or rectum, or difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function. These symptoms may indicate that nerves leading to the pelvis are compressed. This condition can cause permanent damage if not treated promptly.
The vast majority of sciatica nyccases can be controlled with simple home care. For most people, basic preventive measures are enough to keep sciatica nycfrom coming back although it can be chronic or recurrent. Some people do require surgery for persistent pain or leg weakness.
Learn more about Sciatica
IBM Watson Micromedex
Mayo Clinic Reference
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Pain in the legs can occur as a result of conditions that affect bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, or skin. Leg pain can occur in the foot, ankle, knee, behind the knee, thigh, down the back of the leg, or in any part of the leg. It can occur at night, while lying down, or while running or exercising, depending upon the cause. Depending on the cause, leg pain can occur in one leg only or in both legs. Typically, the leg pain is a result of tissue inflammation that is caused by injury or disease. Either injury or chronic disease can cause inflammation to any of the tissues of the leg and lead to leg pain. Since the leg contains a number of different structures and tissue types, a wide variety of conditions and injuries can cause leg pain.
Depending on the cause of the pain, other symptoms, like
- aching, or
- a tingling sensation, may accompany leg pain.
Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage from diabetes) is a common cause of tingling, burning, and numbness in the legs that can at times be painful. For diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, it is important to differentiate the exact type and location of any pain in the legs. Peripheral artery disease can cause claudication, or pain that occurs in the legs usually when walking or exercising. Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) can be another cause of leg pain. Pain in the knee and ankle joints of the leg is common with the arthritis conditions. The pain of sciatica nyc(from disc disease of the spine) may radiate down the leg and is another common cause of leg pain.
Other causes of leg pain
- Bacterial Infections
- Electrolyte Imbalances
- Fungal Infections
- Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease
- Nerve Damage From Any Source
- Rupture of Ligaments or Tendons
- Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
- Tears in Cartilage
- Ulcerations of the Skin
- Viral Infections
The term arthritis refers to stiffness in the joints. See Answer
During the physical exam, your doctor may check your muscle strength and reflexes. For example, you may be asked to walk on your toes or heels, rise from a squatting position and, while lying on your back, lift your legs one at a time. Pain that results from sciatica will usually worsen during these activities.
Many people have herniated disk nycs or bone spurs that will show up on X-rays and other imaging tests but have no symptoms. So doctors don’t typically order these tests unless your pain is severe, or it doesn’t improve within a few weeks.
- X-ray. An X-ray of your spine may reveal an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) that may be pressing on a nerve.
- MRI. This procedure uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your back. An MRI produces detailed images of bone and soft tissues such as herniated disk nycs. During the test, you lie on a table that moves into the MRI machine.
- CT scan. When a CT is used to image the spine, you may have a contrast dye injected into your spinal canal before the X-rays are taken — a procedure called a CT myelogram. The dye then circulates around your spinal cord and spinal nerves, which appear white on the scan.
- Electromyography (EMG). This test measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles. This test can confirm nerve compression caused by herniated disk nycs or narrowing of your spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
If your pain doesn’t improve with self-care measures, your doctor might suggest some of the following treatments.
The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica nycpain include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-seizure medications
Once your acute pain improves, your doctor or a physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help you prevent future injuries. This typically includes exercises to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root. Corticosteroids help reduce pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve. The effects usually wear off in a few months. The number of steroid injections you can receive is limited because the risk of serious side effects increases when the injections occur too frequently.
This option is usually reserved for when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when you have pain that progressively worsens or doesn’t improve with other therapies. Surgeons can remove the bone spur or the portion of the herniated disk nyc that’s pressing on the pinched nerve.
Lifestyle and home remedies
For most people, sciatica nycresponds to self-care measures. Although resting for a day or so may provide some relief, prolonged inactivity will make your signs and symptoms worse.
Other self-care treatments that might help include:
- Cold packs. Initially, you might get relief from a cold pack placed on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. Use an ice pack or a package of frozen peas wrapped in a clean towel.
- Hot packs. After two to three days, apply heat to the areas that hurt. Use hot packs, a heat lamp or a heating pad on the lowest setting. If you continue to have pain, try alternating warm and cold packs.
- Stretching. Stretching exercises for your low back can help you feel better and might help relieve nerve root compression. Avoid jerking, bouncing or twisting during the stretch, and try to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Over-the-counter medications. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are sometimes helpful for sciatica.
Alternative therapies commonly used for low back pain nyc include:
- Acupuncture. In acupuncture, the practitioner inserts hair-thin needles into your skin at specific points on your body. Some studies have suggested that acupuncture can help back pain nyc, while others have found no benefit. If you decide to try acupuncture, choose a licensed practitioner to ensure that he or she has had extensive training.
- Chiropractic. Spinal adjustment (manipulation) is one form of therapy chiropractors use to treat restricted spinal mobility. The goal is to restore spinal movement and, as a result, improve function and decrease pain. Spinal manipulation appears to be as effective and safe as standard treatments for low back pain nyc, but might not be appropriate for radiating pain.
Preparing for your appointment
Not everyone who has sciatica nycneeds medical care. If your symptoms are severe or persist for more than a month, though, make an appointment with your primary care doctor.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms and when they began.
- List key medical information, including other conditions you have and the names of medications, vitamins or supplements you take.
- Note recent accidents or injuries that might have damaged your back.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help you remember what your doctor tells you.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment time.
For radiating low back pain nyc, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What’s the most likely cause of my back pain nyc?
- Are there other possible causes?
- Do I need diagnostic tests?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- If you’re recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
- For how long will I need to take medication?
- Am I a candidate for surgery? Why or why not?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- What self-care measures should I take?
- What can I do to prevent my symptoms from recurring?
Don’t hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- Do you have numbness or weakness in your legs?
- Do certain body positions or activities make your pain better or worse?
- How limiting is your pain?
- Do you do heavy physical work?
- Do you exercise regularly? If yes, with what types of activities?
- What treatments or self-care measures have you tried? Has anything helped?
Aug. 01, 2020
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Common causes of leg pain
Pain or discomfort anywhere in the leg can range from a dull ache to an intense stabbing sensation. Most leg pain occurs due to overuse or minor injuries. The discomfort often disappears within a short time and can be eased with home remedies.
In some cases, however, a serious medical condition may be causing the pain. See your doctor if you’re experiencing severe or persistent leg pain. Getting a prompt diagnosis and treatment for any underlying conditions may prevent the pain from getting worse and improve your long-term outlook.
Some of the more common causes of leg pain are minor or temporary conditions that your doctor can treat effectively.
A primary cause of leg pain is a muscle cramp or spasm that’s often known as “a charley horse.” A cramp usually triggers sudden, sharp pain as the leg muscles contract. The tightening muscles often form a visible, hard lump beneath the skin. There may be some redness and swelling in the surrounding area.
Muscle fatigue and dehydration may lead to leg cramps, especially in the calf. Certain medications, including diuretics and statins, may also cause leg cramps in some people.
Leg pain is also frequently a sign of injury, such as the following:
- Muscle strain is a common injury that happens when the muscle fibers tear as a result of overstretching. It often occurs in the larger muscles, such as the hamstrings, calves, or quadriceps.
- Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are thick cords that join the muscles to bone. When they become inflamed, it can be difficult to move the affected joint. Tendinitis often affects tendons in the hamstrings or near the heel bone.
- Knee bursitis happens when the fluid-filled sacs, or bursa, surrounding the knee joint become inflamed.
- Shin splints cause pain along the inner edge of the shinbone, or tibia. The injury can occur when the muscles around the shinbone tear as a result of overuse.
- Stress fractures are tiny breaks in the leg bones, particularly those in the shinbone.
Certain medical conditions commonly lead to leg pain. These include:
- Atherosclerosis is the narrowing and hardening of the arteries due to a buildup of fat and cholesterol. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. When there’s a blockage, it reduces blood flow to various parts of your body. If the tissues in the leg don’t receive enough oxygen, it can result in leg pain, particularly in the calves.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside the body. A blood clot is a clump of blood that’s in a solid state. DVTs typically form in the lower leg after long periods of bed rest, causing swelling and cramping pain.
- Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. The condition may cause swelling, pain, and redness in the affected area. It often affects joints in the knees and hips.
- Gout is a form of arthritis that can occur when too much uric acid builds up in the body. It usually causes pain, swelling, and redness in the feet and lower part of the legs.
- Varicose veins are knotted and enlarged veins that form when the veins overfill with blood due to incompetent valves. They usually appear swollen or raised and can be painful. They most often occur in the calves and ankles.
- Infection in the bone or tissues of the leg can cause swelling, redness, or pain in the affected area.
- Nerve damage in the leg may cause numbness, pain, or tingling. It often occurs in the feet and lower part of the legs as a result of diabetes.
The following conditions and injuries can also lead to leg pain, but they’re less common causes:
- A slipped (herniated) disk occurs when one of the rubbery disks in between the vertebrate slips out of place. The disk can compress nerves in the spine. This may trigger pain that travels from your spine to your arms and legs.
- Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs when the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone becomes strained. It pulls on the cartilage of tibia where it attaches to the bone. It causes a painful lump to form below the knee, resulting in tenderness and swelling around the knee. It primarily occurs in adolescents experiencing growth spurts during puberty.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease occurs due to an interruption of the blood supply to the ball of the hip joint. The lack of blood supply severely damages the bone and can deform it permanently. These abnormalities often result in pain, especially around the hip, thigh, or knee. This primarily occurs during adolescence.
- Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a separation of the ball of the hip joint from the thighbone, causing hip pain. The condition only occurs in children, particularly those who are overweight.
- Noncancerous, or benign, tumors can also develop in the thighbone or shinbone.
- Malignant, or cancerous, bone tumors may form in the larger leg bones, such as the thighbone or shinbone.
You can usually treat leg pain at home if it’s due to cramps or a minor injury. Try the following home treatments when your leg pain is from muscle cramps, fatigue, or overuse:
- Rest your leg as much as possible, and elevate your leg with pillows.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to help ease discomfort as your leg heals.
- Wear compression socks or stockings with support.
Apply ice to the affected area of your leg at least four times per day. You can do this even more frequently in the first few days after the pain appears. You can leave the ice on for as long as 15 minutes at a time.
Take a warm bath and stretch
Take a warm bath, and then gently stretch your muscles. If you have pain in the lower part of your leg, try pointing and straightening your toes when sitting or standing. If you have pain in the upper part of your leg, try to bend over and touch your toes.
You can do this while sitting on the ground or standing up. Ease into each stretch, holding each position for five to 10 seconds. Stop stretching if your pain gets worse.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine when leg pain warrants a trip to the doctor or the emergency room. Schedule a doctor’s appointment if you’re experiencing:
- swelling in both legs
- varicose veins that are causing discomfort
- pain while walking
- leg pain that continues to get worse or persists beyond a few days
Go to the hospital immediately if any of the follow occurs:
- You have a fever.
- You have a deep cut on your leg.
- Your leg is red and warm to the touch.
- Your leg is pale and feels cool to the touch.
- You’re having difficulty breathing and you have swelling in both legs.
- You’re unable to walk or put any weight on your leg.
- You have a leg injury that occurred along with a pop or grinding noise.
A number of serious conditions and injuries may cause leg pain. Never ignore leg pain that doesn’t seem to be going away or that’s accompanied by other symptoms. Doing so could be dangerous. See your doctor if you’re concerned about your leg pain.
You should always take time to stretch your muscles before and after exercising to prevent leg pain due to physical activity. It’s also helpful to eat foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas and chicken, to help prevent injuries of the leg muscles and tendons.
You can help prevent medical conditions that may cause nerve damage in the legs by doing the following:
- Exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid smoking.
- Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure, and take steps to keep them under control.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks per day if you’re a man.
Talk to your doctor about other ways to prevent the specific cause of your leg pain.